Island. The word conjures up sunny beaches and swaying palm trees. But Tenerife is no ordinary tropical escape. This volcanic stretch of land in the Canary Islands brings as much biodiversity to the table as it does coastline (400 km to be exact). With unbelievably clear waters housing over 4,500 species, misty jungle-like forests, slopes of sculptural rocks, and deep gorges, get to know Tenerife on activities full of outdoor discovery.Explore land, sea, and the skies around Tenerife. Read on to find out how.
1. Explore Pico del Teide: a Volcano in the Sky
Teide National Park sits in the center of the island in Tenerife’s spotlight. The park encircles Spain’s highest point, the volcano Pico del Teide, which towers over the sea at 3,718 m (12,198 ft). Take a cable car up towards the top to marvel at the UNESCO World Heritage site’s unique barren surroundings. Walk through trails to a world of rocky formations of orange and red tints. If you ever wanted to join a mission to Mars, this may be the closest you get.
–Check out a hiking tour through Teide National Park –
2. A Volcano’s Legacy: Roque Cinchado and Las Cañadas
Reminders of Mount Teide’s violent eruption in 1706 come in the form of otherworldly land features. The Los Roques de Garcia trail leads you around the base of the Teide volcano, where you pass the famous Roque Cinchado. This eroded rock curves out of the ground and defies the laws of gravity. Continue on to pass Las Cañadas, a giant caldera spanning 16 km (10 mi) in width. Perhaps the only extraterrestrial sight you won’t see on this 3.5 km (2.2 mi) route is an alien.
-Check out a hiking excursion around Teide National Park–
3. Hiking the Foggy Anaga Forest
Contrasting Teide’s dry atmosphere is the dense, misty forests of Anaga Rural Park. Laurel trees cover this mountain highland of sharp ravines and persistent magical fog. Hike through tree-covered trails to find traces of past volcanic activity, like chimneys, and deep fractures, and hidden historical hamlets. With high mountain views, secluded beaches, and flourishing native species, Anaga Rural Park is its own world within Tenerife.
-Check out a hiking tour in the Anaga Forest–
4. Standup Paddle Along Los Gigantes
There are cliffs, and then there are Los Gigantes. These towering “giants” dominate the coastline at 600 m (1,970 ft) above the ocean. Standup paddleboarding along these rock faces brings you close enough to reveal just how massive they really are. Admire cliff after cliff high above you. Just remember to keep your balance, or you’ll be swimming with the fish below you.
–Check out a standup paddleboarding tour in Tenerife-
5. Snorkel & Scuba through Vibrant Wildlife
Marine species from the Mediterranean, Caribbean, and Atlantic swarm together to create an incredibly biodiverse ecosystem around the Canary Islands. Peak under the clear, inviting surface with a mask and witness this bright community of inhabitants. From rays to turtles to fish of all colors, snorkeling and scuba diving in Tenerife brings no shortage of animal discovery. Even the rocky reefs and tunnels of cooled lava are enough to make you dive deeper.
6. Cruise around by Bike
Tenerife’s small size makes it ideal for adventuring from sight to sight by bike. Whether on road paths along the coast or on rough mountain trails, biking around Tenerife is the perfect active alternative to lying on the beach. An electric bike tour lets you explore even more land of this incredible island. Take advantage of this phenomenally diverse and hilly landscape and peddle past nature marvels. And then take that nap in the sand.
–Check out biking tours in Tenerife –
7. Surfing in the “Island of Endless Spring”
In a place where the air rarely drops below 22°C (72°F) and water remains an average 21°C (70°F), Tenerife is nothing short of a year-round surfing paradise. With a variety of beaches, take advantage of both the weather and the reef breaks that host international surf competitions. This European surfing mecca draws both experts and beginners looking to sharpen their skills in a stunning setting.
–Check out surfing lessons in Tenerife–
8. Trek down the Hills of the Masca Valley
High up in the Macizo de Teno Mountains sits the tiny village of Masca, home to around 90 inhabitants. A hiking trail from this remote hamlet winds down through a dramatically high gorge. Views of the village from below have a Macchu Picchu-like resemblance. Walk down the 6 km (3.7 mi) trail among cypress trees, palm trees, and many more local succulents. End your hike with a dip in the clear waters, and then take a water taxi along the cliffs of Los Gigantes. It’s funny how such huge features can be on such a small island.
- -Check out hiking excursions in Tenerife–
9. Whale Watching Excursion
While cruising along the coasts of Tenerife, you’re likely to see much more than colorful fish below the ocean’s surface. Almost 30 species of whales and dolphins either reside in the Canary Island’s waters or pass through on migration routes. A whale-watching excursion brings high chances of spotting large mammals like a Sperm Whale, a Risso Dolphin, or even a Killer Whale. Keep your eyes on the water and your cameras in hand.
-Check out whale watching tours in Tenerife–
10. Underground Lava Tube of Cueva del Viento
27,000 years ago, an eruption of the Pico Viejo volcano resulted in an 18 km (11 mi) cavity filled with winding tunnels. Today, you can wander through this underground maze to discover fossils, stalactites, lava lakes, and the 190 species living in the dark. Venture deep below the surface and explore the fifth longest lava tube in the world. Cueva del Viento may be underground, but this cave system is certainly way above average.
11. Wander and Wine Taste through Tacoronte
If William Shakespeare recommended a wine, would you try it? With a mention in not one, but three of his plays, the author sings his praises of Tenerife’s decadent wines. Walk through the sloping hills of Tacoronte, the island’s largest wine growing region, which is also full of history from the days of the Spanish conquest. Enjoy a wine tasting of the earthy reds and refreshing white wines and drink just like Shakespeare. (Drink enough, and you may talk like him too!)
-Check out a wine tasting a hiking tour in Tenerife–
12. Trek through Corona Natural Park
Corona Forest Natural Park holds an important place in Tenerife’s long list of natural marvels. This vast park full of pine, juniper, and wild olive trees spreads out around the base of the Teide Volcano. Hike through the park and admire the rich plant life and the numerous thousand-year-old sandy cones dancing up into the sky. Some say they resemble cathedrals, adding an even more holy atmosphere to this majestic natural wonder.
13. Paraglide Over the Lunar Landscape
There’s only one place from where you can truly take in Tenerife’s rich diverse landscape – the sky. Paragliding over the island brings you the full scope of views, from the rocky barren volcanoes and the dense green forests of Anaga Forest to coastal lagoons in shades of blue. Admire this Canarian treasure full of natural surprises for spectacular 360° views. If the views don’t take your breath away, the thrill of soaring over this Atlantic island surely will.
-Check out paragliding tours in Tenerife–
14. Explore the rocks of Barranco del Infierno or “Hells’ Canyon”
The unusual nature reserve of Barranco del Infierno is one of Mother Nature’s best creations for exploration. Venture along deep gorges carved out by years of water erosion, climb up the 1,000 m (3,280 ft) high Roque Conde, and dip your toes into flowing waterfalls. In order to preserve the area, only 300 people are allowed in at one time – so book your tickets before you go! With almost no soil in the reserve, “Hells’ Canyon” is full boulders, unique plants, and, actually, a little slice of heaven.
15. Pirámides de Güímar Ethnographic Park & Botanical Garden
A collection of stone pyramids comprises this archaeological site full of mystery. A few theories attempt to pin down a date and origin story for the Pirámides de Güímar, but today no single explanation stands correct. This huge park of 64,000 m2 (16 acres) houses the stone structures and a vast botanical garden. Here you can discover local species of intricate leaves and even poisonous or deadly plants. Wander the entire park and see how it so wonderfully promotes the cultural and natural conservation of Tenerife’s heritage.